Having witnessed a blanket of darkness descend on America over these last several months, my choreography has taken an urgent detour away from other projects. In their place is “Emerge Dancing,” a multi-media performance created and performed by Jewish and Muslim dancers, composers, writers and musicians, the goal of which is to highlight the beauty of our cultures and our shared desire for love and acceptance. Dance and music can reach us in ways that ordinary language cannot. When communication becomes difficult, when people stop listening and impenetrable walls begin to form, art can open doors. It is a way in.
The Jewish and Muslim artists who bring their enormous talent to this production have awakened me to our striking religious, historical and cultural parallels. Arabic and Jewish music, chanting, video art and stories from the Quran and Torah come together in a poignant expression of what is still possible at a time of fear and derision. If musicians, dancers and actors of both traditions appear on stage together (an unprecedented performance experience in Boston) there will also be Muslims and Jews in the audience witnessing, for example, an acrimonious conversation between Sara from the Torah and Hajar from the Quran which dissolves into mutual recognition as they discover the pivotal experience they share as mothers. In another dance, a Jew and Muslim sit on chairs back to back, apprehensive and unwilling to look at one another until a subtle and courageous evolution of trust unfolds. In a Q&A following the performances audience members will have an opportunity to engage in a dialogue with each other and the performers.